Each Area of Cremation Requires Documentation

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An Authorization for Cremation Form Not Sufficient Alone

Posted by Jim Starks on July 23, 2013

  An “Authorization for Cremation” may not be sufficient. In fact, supplemental forms are most likely necessary. Because of the irreversibility of cremation, unlike a burial that allows for disinterment, the key is to maintain documentation for every area of the case.

  While the major national death care professional organizations and many state organizations supply downloadable forms for firms, the critical issue is that staff members are trained to use them and to do so correctly and consistently. The forms only protect a firm and the families that request cremation if they are used and completed correctly and consistently. To ensure this, spot audits of the case files are necessary.

  Some of the supplemental forms firms should use include:

?  Identification acknowledgment

?  Mailing of Cremated Human Remains

?  Scattering of Cremated Human Remains

?  Authorization of who to pick up Cremated Human Remains

?  Receipt of Human Remains from crematory

?  Receipt from crematory of Cremated Human Remains

?  Authorization to Recycle Medical Metal

  The first step, after deciding which forms are required, to ensuring a firm’s protection through these forms is to make them readily available to staff. They can be printed and kept in a file or stored on the firm’s computer system. If they are printed, a system or reminder to print more forms when the supply is low is important. If someone makes copies of a printed form, a level of professionalism is lost that reflects on the firm.

  Some forms won’t be necessary on a regular basis. Those forms should be stored, whether printed in a binder or saved on a computer file or electronic storage option, in a place that is known to staff. Knowledge of their location could prove priceless when a form is needed.

  Further, due to state rules and regulations, some forms should be reviewed or modified by a local attorney or by one of the nationally-known attorneys that specialize in the death care profession. This precaution could prove invaluable. After all, it takes only one error to cost a firm’s reputation and significant financial loss in legal and settlement fees.

  When I write an article on cremation, I attempt to upgrade the cremation procedures that many of the death care providers are following. These procedures may take more time or add cost to your firm. If they do, you may want to research what you are charging and adjust to reflect the dignity and respect that everyone needs to have when dealing with consumers that choose cremation.



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